why does Google only guarantee Pixel updates for 2 years? (vs. 4 years for iPhones)

Golfdriver97

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A big part of the issue is Qualcomm needs to update the chipset. Since they rarely do, that hinders what OS can run on what chip.
 

masseurca

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And Apple has the one phone line and they only release them once a year. Easy to make updates for those few phones from only one company.

There are literally hundreds of Android phones created in that same span of time. There are a bunch of obvious reasons for this, here are just a couple.
 

Lobwedgephil

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And Apple has the one phone line and they only release them once a year. Easy to make updates for those few phones from only one company.

There are literally hundreds of Android phones created in that same span of time. There are a bunch of obvious reasons for this, here are just a couple.

Pixel is only once a year assuming they make another, think it is a valid question. This is on the one phone, not all android phones.
 

tdizzel

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This question demonstrates perfectly Apple's marketing at its best and just how far Google is behind Apple in that manner.
Yes, Apple guarantees updates for 4 years, but the updates to the older phone are virtually in name only as very little of the full OS is updated on to the older phones, but Apple very intelligently lets everyone know that it is still the newest OS version on their old phones, but they de-emphasize the limited manner in which they are upgraded.
The Pixel will get 2 years of OS updates, but will continue to get functional updates as Google has offloaded many of those to the Play Store. So in truth, the Pixel will likely get updates far past the 4 years that the iPhones are getting. The difference is Google isn't calling them OS updates while Apple is.
I'd be willing to bet that in 4 years, the increase in functionality of the Pixel will be greater than the increase in functionality of whatever iPhone is currently the newest one, but people will think the iPhone has been updated farther because it will have a higher OS version number whereas the Pixel won't.

P.S. If Jerry is reading this, can you please write an article explaining this because I'm quite sure you can explain it a thousand times better than I can.
 

anon(10057381)

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This question demonstrates perfectly Apple's marketing at its best and just how far Google is behind Apple in that manner.
Yes, Apple guarantees updates for 4 years, but the updates to the older phone are virtually in name only as very little of the full OS is updated on to the older phones, but Apple very intelligently lets everyone know that it is still the newest OS version on their old phones, but they de-emphasize the limited manner in which they are upgraded.
The Pixel will get 2 years of OS updates, but will continue to get functional updates as Google has offloaded many of those to the Play Store. So in truth, the Pixel will likely get updates far past the 4 years that the iPhones are getting. The difference is Google isn't calling them OS updates while Apple is.
I'd be willing to bet that in 4 years, the increase in functionality of the Pixel will be greater than the increase in functionality of whatever iPhone is currently the newest one, but people will think the iPhone has been updated farther because it will have a higher OS version number whereas the Pixel won't.

P.S. If Jerry is reading this, can you please write an article explaining this because I'm quite sure you can explain it a thousand times better than I can.

I couldn't care less about new features in new OS updates... however, it really scares me that most 2-year-old mid to flagship Android phones are not getting needed security updates.
 

hallux

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I couldn't care less about new features in new OS updates... however, it really scares me that most 2-year-old mid to flagship Android phones are not getting needed security updates.

Those are at the discretion of the manufacturer to release for their devices. This is due to the open nature of the OS - Google can't possibly be expected to ensure the security update that works perfectly fine on a Nexus or Pixel will not break features that Samsung (for example) has decided to add to its devices.

As for major OS updates - someone else hit the nail on the head, Qualcomm and other chipset makers are the ones causing the lack of long-term releases as they need to provide support for their old hardware in the new OS.
 

Almeuit

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I couldn't care less about new features in new OS updates... however, it really scares me that most 2-year-old mid to flagship Android phones are not getting needed security updates.
True but we are talking about the Pixel here.. not the manufacturers.
 

tdizzel

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I couldn't care less about new features in new OS updates... however, it really scares me that most 2-year-old mid to flagship Android phones are not getting needed security updates.

Google has promised at least 3 years for security updates for the Pixel. Only time will tell if it will get those for longer than that.
 

ScottsoNJ

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I wish I could keep a phone long enough to worry about getting updates 2 years down the road. Unfortunately I have that dreaded affliction called nextgreatestitis
 

Aquila

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@tdizzel did a good job of explaining most of it. I would emphasize that many of the things that we think of as app updates, on iOS the only way to get an update is by getting an OS update.

Another thing to consider is that Google isn't writing an OS that is only supposed to work on Pixel phones and tablets. They're writing an OS that is supposed to work on "all teh things". Phones, not just Pixel, but Nexus and Galaxy and Fire and for dozens of manufacturers producing usually 4 to 20 phones per year each. Then tablets, same story. Then refrigerators, televisions, cars, printers, houses, robots and anything else you can think of that can run Android. Along with writing for a somewhat larger and more diversified audience, there are also, for obvious reasons, more partners in hardware - Qualcomm, Intel, MediaTek, all the OEM's, battery manufacturers, camera lens manufacturers, people who make the tiny ribbons that transmit data from board to the display, etc. Apple has 1 or 2 relationships to maintain per type of component, whereas Android as a whole will have a few or potentially even dozens or hundreds.

Qualcomm so far hasn't told Apple that they're going to stop supporting an 18 month old chip they made for Apple, which is probably built into Apple's contract for chips they bought from Qualcomm. They did do that to several OEM's who bought "off the shelf" chips recently. This is a reasons that the idea of Google trying to create their own chip could be a good thing - obviously it'd have to be well executed and competitive with what we see from Qualcomm, NVIDIA, etc - but it would give them power over their own destiny, enabling them to be able to promise longer periods of updates and security updates, should that be something they're interested in doing.
 

LeoRex

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Yeah, I'm assuming it is really beyond Google's control as well.... Apple controls the entire iPhone system... from chips and up. And like some of my esteemed fellows here have mentioned, Google is often at the mercy of vendors like Qualcomm... if the manufacturer of your SoC no longer supports a new version, you are pretty much out of luck... no drivers, no kernel, no phone.

Apple, on the other hand, does all that in house, so they are the decision maker in terms of when they will cease supporting older chipsets. And since they only have to support a VERY limited number of those, keeping them on longer puts much less strain on their R&D org.
 

gozirra

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There's also the fact that the Pixel series doesn't have a removable battery, it'll be a "dead" phone in more ways than one after the updates are over with.
 

dpeters11

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Does Apple actually state that on their site? And it's caused trouble for them in the past, there have been major updates that ran pretty poorly on older hardware.
 

libra89

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Does Apple actually state that on their site? And it's caused trouble for them in the past, there have been major updates that ran pretty poorly on older hardware.

They don't say it exactly but with every new OS release, they list the phones and iPads that will get the release.
 

Aquila

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The number of consumers keeping phones for 3-4 or more years is surely smaller than those upgrading on a 2 year or more frequent basis. Both Google and Apple are supporting the patterns of most consumers and then some. Normally the "where are the updates!?" conversations are reserved for the OEM's that are not updating their phones.
 

Almeuit

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There's also the fact that the Pixel series doesn't have a removable battery, it'll be a "dead" phone in more ways than one after the updates are over with.

Unless you get it replaced -- just like iPhone users do.
 

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